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MichelleinMinneapolis

What does "published" meeting minutes mean?

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I am trying to figure out when a notetaker needs to take more notes than just the actions that were taken, motions made, etc. If meeting minutes are published on a city website after every meeting, for example, would that be appropriate to ask for the notetaker to write an abstract of the arguments of both sides of the motion? Here's what Robert's Rules Online says about "Minutes to be Published": I'm just not sure if "published" is a specific kind of publication, or if the example I've given is appropriae. 

"Minutes to be Published. When the minutes are to be published. in addition to the strict record of what is done, as heretofore described. they should contain a list of the speakers on each side of every question, with an abstract of all addresses, if not the addresses in full, when written copies are furnished. In this case the secretary should have an assistant. With some annual conventions it is desired to publish the proceedings in full. In such cases it is necessary to employ a stenographer as assistant to the secretary. Reports of committees should be printed exactly as submitted, the minutes showing what action was taken by the assembly in regard to them; or, they may be printed with all additions in italics and parts struck out enclosed in brackets in which case a note to that effect should precede the report or resolutions. In this way the reader can see exactly what the committee reported and also exactly what the assembly adopted or endorsed."

Edited by MichelleinMinneapolis

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19 minutes ago, MichelleinMinneapolis said:

I am trying to figure out when a notetaker needs to take more notes than just the actions that were taken, motions made, etc. If meeting minutes are published on a city website after every meeting, for example, would that be appropriate to ask for the notetaker to write an abstract of the arguments of both sides of the motion?

When the minutes are "published" a full transcript is published, not an abstract.  A website would not usually the form for published minutes.

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Under RONR, minutes should record what was done not what was said.

Many political bodies decide to record more than that. They are free to do so, if they wish, but it is discouraged by regulars on this forum.

 

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10 minutes ago, J. J. said:

When the minutes are "published" a full transcript is published, not an abstract.

That's not the impression I get from pp. 475-476. The "proceedings" may contain a full transcript but it is not obligatory.

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20 minutes ago, J. J. said:

When the minutes are "published" a full transcript is published, not an abstract.  A website would not usually the form for published minutes.

  1. In addition to annual meetings, are there any more regular meetings where that might be appropriate, or is it mainly for those big annual gatherings? 

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18 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

That's not the impression I get from pp. 475-476. The "proceedings" may contain a full transcript but it is not obligatory.

I can see your point.

Minutes, however, are truly not published just by being made public.  Absent of an instruction that the proceedings be published, publicly disclosing the minutes is much different than publishing them.  

Edited by J. J.

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3 minutes ago, MichelleinMinneapolis said:
  1. In addition to annual meetings, are there any more regular meetings where that might be appropriate, or is it mainly for those big annual gatherings? 

In my experience "publishing the transactions" is fairly rare.  Even in cases where a court reporter transcribes what is said in the annual meeting, that transcription is rarely published. 

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10 hours ago, MichelleinMinneapolis said:

I am trying to figure out when a notetaker needs to take more notes than just the actions that were taken, motions made, etc. If meeting minutes are published on a city website after every meeting, for example, would that be appropriate to ask for the notetaker to write an abstract of the arguments of both sides of the motion? Here's what Robert's Rules Online says about "Minutes to be Published": I'm just not sure if "published" is a specific kind of publication, or if the example I've given is appropriae. 

"Minutes to be Published. When the minutes are to be published. in addition to the strict record of what is done, as heretofore described. they should contain a list of the speakers on each side of every question, with an abstract of all addresses, if not the addresses in full, when written copies are furnished. In this case the secretary should have an assistant. With some annual conventions it is desired to publish the proceedings in full. In such cases it is necessary to employ a stenographer as assistant to the secretary. Reports of committees should be printed exactly as submitted, the minutes showing what action was taken by the assembly in regard to them; or, they may be printed with all additions in italics and parts struck out enclosed in brackets in which case a note to that effect should precede the report or resolutions. In this way the reader can see exactly what the committee reported and also exactly what the assembly adopted or endorsed."

The text in question has been confusing to people for a long time. Robert's Rules Online includes the text from the 4th edition (1915), and it is available online because it is in the public domain. The current (11th) edition of RONR has clarified the rules on this subject.

"Sometimes a society wishes to have a full record of its proceedings made available to the public, and when such a record of the proceedings is to be published (in which case it is often called "proceedings," "transactions," or the like), it frequently contains, in addition to the information described above for inclusion in the minutes, a list of the speakers on each side of every question, with an abstract or the text of each address. In such cases the secretary should have an assistant. When it is desired, as in some conventions, to publish the proceedings in full, the secretary's assistant should be a stenographic reporter or recording technician. The presiding officer should then take particular care that everyone to whom he assigns the floor is fully identified. Under these conditions it is usually necessary to require members to use a public address system. Reports of committees should be printed exactly as submitted, the record showing what action was taken by the assembly in regard to them; or they can be printed with all additions in italics and parts struck out enclosed in brackets, in which case a note to that effect should precede the report or resolution. Any such record or transcript of the proceedings prepared for publication, however, does not take the place of the minutes, and it is the minutes which comprise the official record of the assembly's proceedings." (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 475-476, emphasis added)

So the assembly is free, if it wishes, to "ask for the notetaker to write an abstract of the arguments of both sides of the motion," however, such an abstract should be a separate document from the minutes. The contents of the minutes remain the same regardless of whether or how the minutes are published.

10 hours ago, MichelleinMinneapolis said:
  1. In addition to annual meetings, are there any more regular meetings where that might be appropriate, or is it mainly for those big annual gatherings? 

My understanding is that the rule in question was primarily written with large conventions of academics, medical professionals, and the like in mind, and such conventions generally meet annually or less. In any event, however, the assembly is free to make what records it likes, but these records do not take the place of the minutes.

Edited by Josh Martin

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